Feeling Defeated

Everybody has days like this sometimes.

I suppose this is a good time for a disclaimer. My mother probably should not read this post. So, you got that Mom? Go ahead and read something about positivity.
Like I was saying, everybody has days like this sometimes. It isn’t unique to cancer patients either. There are days, every so often, when anyone might wake up and just feel like it’s too much. Like they can’t go on. Like they’d rather simply not try.

The irony, for me anyway, is that this isn’t even related directly to my cancer. My treatment has gone fairly well. It may not always be pleasant, but I have relatively little to complain about. Sure, I wish it was more effective, it would have been nice to have gone into full remission at some point. But barring a cure, I find little that has not been advantageous about my journey with regard to treatment.
And yet this morning I found it hard to muster the will to just get the fuck up. And like I said, not even because of the cancer treatment. I am simply tired of being in pain from my sciatica. I’m tired of having a TENS unit strapped to me All Night Long because I don’t have any pills that are strong enough to take away the pain.
And I’m tired of being tired.
Being tired makes it even harder to deal with the pain and move on through my day. It saps both my will to ignore it and my ability to rail against it in fury at the universe. The only thing that seems acceptable is to curl up into the fetal position and whimper. And I would… if my fucking sciatica didn’t hurt so goddamn much that lying down is the worst idea I could come up with. So instead I come to vent at my desk, type this distraction as much as I can before collapsing on the keyboard because my brain just wants to shut off.
Yeah, days like this. You know the ones. We all have them sometimes.
And it’s okay to admit it.
But feeling defeated is just the first step in not giving up. It’s an important acknowledgment that shit sucks. But if we don’t acknowledge that, how can we improve it? How can we move on? Our culture always tells us to suck it up, after all. Pull up our big kid pants. Trudge on through the mud. And there might be something good about being willing to do that, but it should not come from an underlying denial that there are problems not easily fixed. Hiding creates problems. Hiding breeds addiction. Hiding festers into depression. Being open at least offers a door to the forward path.
So I am airing my grievances. I’m venting to the world as I shake fists into the sky. I am in pain! I cannot take it any longer.
The good news is that I wrote the above piece after already going in to my doctor and arranging for an MRI. The results of that MRI showed two things: a slightly bulging disc in my lower lumbar region, and a new metastasis shooting off from the active cancer in my lower spine. Initially, I tried treating the bulging disc with clinical doses of ibuprofen, but it was the metastasis that was pressing on my sciatic nerve and causing the pain.
Ten days of radiation therapy later and the pain is so greatly diminished that I no longer need to take any painkillers, much less use the TENS unit. But it took me a long time of “powering through” to get to the point where I was willing to go in and get the MRI done. It wasn’t so much that I did not want the MRI — I really did want it, and would have happily gotten it earlier — but I have an ingrained aversion to seeking and getting help when there is any chance I’ll be able to simply “get better” on my own.
Hopefully, I will have learned from this lesson. That’s a nice thought, anyway.

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4 thoughts on “Feeling Defeated

  1. Such a breath of fresh air, you and your fight. . . your fight to continue living, your fight for universally respecting vulnerability, and your fight to find your ever illusive new normals. You offer us all proof that our strength is woven by leaning in to our weakness. Thank you.

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